Another take on qualifications – have you thought about the Microsoft IT Academy?

IT Academy Programme 2 b If you’re running the ICT systems in your school, and NOT running the curriculum ICT, then you may want to forward this onto the ICT Co-ordinator, or to the Deputy Head in charge of Curriculum Development. Although it’s got ‘IT’ in the title, the IT Academy is actually all about curriculum development and helping your students/staff to gain commercially valuable qualifications.

Don’t tell the curriculum side, but it’s also a great way to get your school an inclusive MSDNAA and TechNet Plus subscription if you’re having difficulty getting it paid for otherwise!

imageI’ve spent a few hours in the company of the team who promote the Microsoft IT Academy scheme in the UK. Basically the scheme offers schools the chance to deliver Microsoft’s IT training and qualifications to your students, staff and even your wider community. The qualifications that you can deliver will help your students (or parents in your community) raise their skills to prepare for business roles, or potentially for technical employment as web developers or systems administrators.

The chart on the right (click on it to see the BIG version) shows the routes to the qualifications that students can attain. And because the qualifications are instantly recognisable in the commercial sector – like MCSE qualifications – it is an instant help with preparing for employment.

But this isn’t just about student qualifications – it can also be used to provide training and qualifications for the wider community, and this is exactly how some of the current IT Academies use it – which is either helping to generate a revenue stream, or to increase parental engagement.

Once you’ve signed up to be an IT Academy, the scheme includes:

  • Free Microsoft eLearning (over 300 courses)

  • Free Microsoft Software Licences

  • Massive discounts on Microsoft Certifications and Courseware

  • Free MSDNAA & TechNet Plus Subscription

  • Free Microsoft Certified Trainer Membership

Currently about two-thirds of UK colleges and universities offer the IT Academy programme, and hundreds of schools. So it could be that your school is already doing it (in which case you might have some of these benefits already).

But the key question I asked the IT Academy team was about cost. Because although they describe everything above as ‘free’, I’d assumed that the annual fee would be prohibitive. The actual answer is that it costs less than £600 for a school to become an IT Academy, and (thanks to the agreement with the SSAT earlier this year), it’s cheaper for Specialist Schools. Especially if you factor in the cost of an MSDNAA & TechNet Plus subscription, this is a great deal.

Although there’s tons of information about IT Academy on our education website, I think there’s probably too much info there, so instead of reading it all I’d recommend giving the Prodigy team a call, or dropping them an email, to get them to explain it to you in plain English. (Just like buying software, IT Academy works the same way – you get access through our partners, rather than directly from us. In this case the partner is Prodigy)

Email the IT Academy team or call them on 0845 3991553.

Any lingering doubts? Take a look at the two case studies from current IT Academies - President Kennedy School and Sawtry Community College

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